Today in Postal History

Netherlands to New Guinea
September 6, 1939

This censored airmail letter was sent from Breukelen.
Breukelen is about 13 km northwest of Utrecht.
There are three Breukelen double ring CDS.
The sender used one of the lightweight printed airmail envelopes common to the period.
Airmail weight was still a large factor in mail rates.

What makes this cover so interesting is that it was sent only
three days after the outbreak of World War II in Europe.
On September 1 Germany had invaded Poland and on September 3
Great Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand declared war on Germany.
This was undoubtedly a letter of some urgency as the threat of war was everywhere.

The destination was Port Moresby on the southeast coast of New Guinea.

The addressee was associated with Knilm
- Koninklijke Nederlandsch-Indische Luchtvaart Maatschappij
(Royal Netherlands Indies' Airways) Air Survey, Papua.*
The KNILM Aerial Survey was involved in oil exploration in New Guinea.

The cover arrived in Brisbane on September 18.
There is a Brisbane AIR MAIL CDS on the rear.

The cover was probably censored in Australia en route.
The cover was opened, censored, sealed with a label,
stamped PASSED BY CENSOR, and then initialed by the censor.

The cover is franked with 1939 12 c commemoratives.
There are two from the Centenary of Dutch Railroads (Scott 215 - issued September 1)
and one from the 12th centenary of the death of St. Willibrord (Scott 213).

*This cover was originally posted during a trip.
I believe this comment was provided by either
Bjorn Munch or Maarten Willems but my file data was lost.
In any event, thanks to the one who provided this information.


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